It’s no secret: Vancouver loves its tacos. In recent years, taquerias and Mexican food in general have popped up all over the city. With so much to choose from, it’s time to put aside that basic Old El Paso taco kit and get the real deal. Here’s a run down of the where to get the best tacos in town – and don’t miss the deals for National Taco Day (scroll down to see them).
Heavy on the westcoast vibes and rooted in Tofino’s surf culture, Tacofino locations and food trucks are sprinkled around the downtown core. A wide selection of tacos and burritos is easily washed down with cool cocktails and cerveza. Tacofino strives to make you feel like you’re recharging on a beach every time. Done. Instagram: @tacofinovan
This small eatery on Abbott is perfect before or after the game. For “tacos with attitude”, build your own tacos and top it off with house-made salsa. You’ll find us there this winter warming up with a steaming bowl of sopa. Instagram: @tacomio
Eating where the locals eat is always a good endorsement. Mix and match your tacos or sopes, or go for the larger Parillada (meant to be shared, but we don’t): a full plate of grilled steak, chiles, onions and beans, served with a side of tortillas. When available, the nopal – or cactus – is fresh from Commercial Drive. The Mexican boasts ‘deep love and respect for Mexico’, and we’re feeling it. Pro-tip: find out when the Mexican soccer team is playing and take in the game and the fiesta with a packed house. Instagram: @themexicanvan
We love the vibe and frequently visit this Latino-style bar on Main Street, especially for happy hour ‘Beer and a Shot’ Thursdays. The arepas (stuffed corn pockets) are chock full of pastor, pescado, pollo, or more. They also serve delicious huevos for weekend brunches. Instagram: @elcaminos
We have a couple faves at this long-standing shop across from Roundhouse Community Centre. The Azteca soup has a solid kick of chipotle, perfect for cold, rainy evenings or a brisk walk along the seawall. Order the larger size, a meal in itself. Polish it off with a tequila from the bar selection or postres (desserts) like the delicious flan de café (crème caramel). Instagram: @salsa_and_agave
The cheekily named La Taqueria Pinche Taco Shop has three popular locations around Vancouver. The seafood tacos – atún, baja, and cabo – will take you straight back to your last Mexican beach vacation. We’ve also been known to down the larger burritos; go for the tinga, or traditional tomato and shredded chicken. Instagram: @lataqueria
This small, somewhat hidden gem just off Burrard and Davie is another DL favourite. The tacos and tortas are excellent, but what really keeps us coming back are the freshly baked conchas sweet bread, made twice a day. Catch them fresh out of the oven and pair with a cup of Moja coffee. Pro-tip: visit early on Saturdays for the lamb barbacoa – it sells out in a hurry – a delicious hot soup full of lime and cilantro. Perfect cure for a rough Friday night. Instagram: @molli_cafe
Las Tortas on Cambie has been a lunch break staple for us for years. The wide selection of tortas – think Mexican subs – come stuffed with grilled meat, cheese, pickle, and lime. Wash it all down with a Coca-Cola imported from Mexico (and taste the difference!) Facebook: @lastortas
A fairly new addition to the scene, this little eatery in Kitsilano is open late. We spent a few nights sampling the extensive cocteles and tequila menu this past summer. Nibble on the delicious queso fundido, Mexican Oaxaca cheese fondue topped with chorizo, salsa, and chutney. If you’re lucky, snag a seat on the patio and people watch with a local craft or Mexican import cerveza. Instagram: @luckytacoyvr
This Kitsilano institution is perfect Tex-Mex, serving up Baja-inspired favourites. The portions are hearty and the margaritas flow freely. Hungry? Look no further than Combinacion Numero Tres: a chicken burrito and beef taco combo, drowned in salsa roja or salsa verde. Instagram: @lasmargaritasbc
Tucked away in Blood Alley is Gringo, serving up no-nonsense tacos con cerveza to the tunes of the 80s and 90s. Better know your michelada from your chelada (one comes with tomato and spice) before ordering. Don some neon pink and a flamingo and you’ll fit right in. Tacos here are three for $8. Instagram: @gringoyvr
Another new addition to the local taco scene serving the fringe of downtown. While you’re waiting for fresh tacos – we love the in-house tortillas – stock up on imported groceries including salsas, chips, Coranado caramel spread, and candy. Our topping of choice is the rajas y champinones: poblano peppers, mushrooms, and cream. Instagram: @sombrerosvan
Further east, the colourful walls of Sal y Limon are adorned with Mexican folk art and colourful skulls, symbols of upcoming Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead). Sal y Limon boasts one of the largest and comprehensive menus we’ve come across: 21 choices of torta, plus huaraches, tacos, and filling burritos. Large and spacious, the tables turn over quickly so don’t be put off by a small line at this popular eatery. Instagram: @salylimonvan
Slightly more upscale, the menu at both locations offers traditional Mexican dishes with a local West Coast infusion. If you’re looking for cocktails featuring mescal (distilled from various agave plants) or tequila (distilled from blue agave), head here. The queso fundido is served in a red-hot molcajete stone bowl. Delicious seafood offerings include risotto de almejas (risotto with clams) and cochinita pibil (slow-roasted pork). Reservations recommended. Instagram: @lamezcaleriayvr
A simple but simply delicious taco menu highlights this West End fave. Choose from pastor, carnitas, tinga and more; we suggest the mole, chicken in a sweet and spicy chocolate sauce. This is the real deal. Instagram: @lacatrinatacos
The newest addition from the team behind Corduroy and Corduroy Pie Co., this cozy spot is a welcome addition to the Dunbar area. A thoughtfully concise and fun menu of tacos, tater tot poutine, street corn, and churros. Instagram: @cantinapana
South of the Border
Looking further afield, head across the border – or stop in on you way home – to La Gloria Market in Bellingham, WA. This little grocer in a stripmall down the street from Bellis Fair is lined wall-to-wall with interesting items and Mexican foodstuffs. We never leave without a generous portion of creamy queso Oaxaca and a selection from the carniceria. Fresh conchas and pastries are baked daily, and the shelves are stocked with the best supply of Mexican groceries. The restaurant serves up delicious and generous portions, too. A worthy stop.
Deal Alert for National Taco Day: Wednesday, October 4, 2017
- Tacofino – 50 free fish tacos from its Pink Truck from 11am-3pm at five random locations. Follow them on social media to track down the truck!
- Tacomio – Get six tacos for the price of four, all day.
- La Taqueria – 2-for-1 tacos from their entire menu from 3-6pm. Also, look out for taco-themed prize packs and gifts near its locations (clues on their Instagram feed)
- Sombreros – This is technically not for National Taco Day, but they just hit 400 likes on FB. If you say, “I’m part of the lucky 400” and you’ll get a free taco with your purchase of 4 tacos for $10.